393.1121 Smit, Albert H./7
The Department of State to the Chinese Legation
The Department has been informed that on January 28 an American national, Mr. Smit, driving a motor car in which there were three other Americans and one Chinese, near Tungchow in Kiangsu Province, collided with a Chinese coolie, and that as a result of this collision the Chinese coolie died. Chinese police seized the motor car and its passengers but, on the guarantee of one of the Americans that Smit and the car would be produced before Chinese authorities, released Smit and his companions. Subsequently, Smit was summoned by and appeared before the Chinese Magistrate at Tungchow (in Kiangsu). On February 14 the Magistrate’s Court delivered a judgment dated February 8 to the effect that Smit was partially responsible for the accident and imposing on Smit a fine of $100 or fifty days in jail.
American nationals, under the provisions of existing treaties, are not subject to the jurisdiction of Chinese courts. The American Government has given instructions that the American Consul at Nanking act in the case in his judicial capacity and that the American Minister upon his arrival in Nanking in the near future take this matter up with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs. Needless to say, the American Government hopes that this case will not lead to the creating of an issue between the two Governments.